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PSRG calls for reinstatement of the GE Moratorium

PSRG calls for the reinstatement of the GE Moratorium

PSRG has called for the reinstatement of the moratorium on the release of genetically engineered organisms (GEOs) into the NZ environment.

Letters addressed to the Prime Minister and all Members of Parliament called for its reinstatement using the NOOM Bill; a common-sense, precautionary and necessary step to protect the NZ environment and its people.

Biotechnology has made important advances adding much of value to our scientific heritage. Only three percent of FRST funding for biological science goes to projects which may eventually lead to the release of GEOs. Keeping genetic engineering (GE) biotechnology in the laboratory will have minimal impact on NZ research projects and the retention of scientific manpower and capacity, and will not hinder medical research projects.

PSRG has also called for the ERMA to be reformed so that it is truly independent and transparent, with access to independent scientific advice. It must operate under a brief that includes the precautionary principle of acknowledging unquantified risk and take into account the economic realities related to GE release. NZ would thus set world standards for the assessment of GEOs.

Internationally, the premature adoption of GE in agriculture has led to some of the largest reductions in agricultural export markets; e.g. Argentinean soy, Canadian canola and honey, and US maize. NZ's economy would be uniquely vulnerable to such losses.

Losing the GE-free status would tarnish Brand NZ's 'Clean Green' and 'Pure New Zealand' images which support NZ's agricultural export and tourism markets.

The recent government-commissioned BERL report found that 20 to 30 percent of consumers in major export markets would cease purchasing New Zealand commodities if NZ released GEOs. Overseas, GE market impacts have already caused hardship to farmers.

Studies have shown that the primary beneficiaries of GE crops are the companies producing them.

PSRG has called for an independently organized, investigative visit, by New Zealand MPs to farmers in Argentina, the USA and Canada, to substantiate these concerns.


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